By Olivia Nickerson
Gabriella or “Gabby” Luus is a 20-year-old South African and Hungarian student majoring in psychology. She was born in BedfordView, Johannesburg, South Africa. She lived there for the first 3 years of her life before moving to Hungary, where she was enrolled in a preschool that operated fully in the Hungarian language. She then moved back to South Africa, where she attended an Afrikaans school for the next few years. She moved with her family to The U.A.E. where they settled in Al Ain. Here, up until grade 5, she was educated with a mix of the American and the British system. After grade 5, she says you’re given the choice of continuing with one or the other. Gabby chose to stay with the British system, but ultimately didn’t like it very much and switched to online schooling which she described as being “very difficult” for her due to her frequent relocation. She changed schooling one last time, moving back into in-person schooling where she received her high-school diploma early.
When it became time to start looking at university programs, Gabby was set on Hungary. Before finding McDaniel College, and not yet sure which direction she wanted to take her life, she was interested in applying to both ELTE and a culinary school. During this time, a close friend of hers was looking into McDaniel College. Her friend told her about McDaniel’s psychology program, and although her friend ultimately ended up choosing another school, when Gabby was accepted to McDaniel, it felt right for her. One of the questions I asked all interviewees was “What made you choose McDaniel’s Budapest campus over our campus in Maryland?” I laughed a bit at her response “I just don’t like America.” She explained how by staying in Europe she had far more opportunities to travel and how it just seemed to be better for her financially.
I wanted to know if there were any significant events that occurred during her time here that made a big impact on her. She spoke about starting therapy and how this helped ease her anxious mind and work through her traumas. When asked if our school provides adequate mental health support, she said “Well, yes and no.” While our resources can be helpful for sorting out school related issues, like other interviewees, she said she feels we lack the resources for more serious mental health problems.
When asked if any professors or faculty made an impact on her, she named Professor Görömbei and Professor Schindler. She described Görömbei as being “endlessly motivating towards students in her courses, understanding, approachable, and kind.” She described Professor Schindler as also being kind to all her students, saying “She went out of her way to get to know us on a personal level and created an environment where we really wanted to learn the things she taught.”
Next, I asked Gabby to describe one moment from her time at McDaniel that’ll stick with her forever. She mentioned a trip she went on during spring break in her second year. I happened to be with her on this trip and remember the moment she described fondly. “For me, I think it’s when we went to Corfu, Greece. There was this moment when we were sitting by the beach smoking. I just remember hearing the sounds of the ocean and feeling pure peace for the first time in a long time.” To finish off our interview, I asked her to share a word of advice for future students at McDaniel College Budapest. She expressed how important she feels it is to come here without expectations. “Come with an open mind and be prepared for the unexpected. Immerse yourself in the culture, go hiking, and attend events.”
I hope you enjoyed getting to know our friend Gabby a bit better! Stay tuned for our final interview with this semester’s graduating students!